Twelfth celebrations under way at Rossnowlagh

Bro Eric Jess PDM, Ballykeel LOL No 851.
Bro Eric Jess PDM, Ballykeel LOL No 851.

Rossnowlagh will kick off this year’s Twelfth of July celebrations with its annual parade on Saturday, four days ahead of the traditional Northern Ireland celebrations.

For the second time in three years, the main County Londonderry parades are being held in Coleraine next Wednesday.

Around 50 lodges from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as visiting Orangemen and women, will take part in Saturday’s Rossnowlagh parade which begins close to St John’s Parish Church at 12 noon.

The parade then makes its way down a narrow country road, thronged with onlookers, to the demonstration field, on the edge of the shoreline.

A religious service, only yards from the rolling breakers of the Atlantic, will be held at 3pm.

The sermon will be delivered by Robert Campbell, County Antrim Deputy Grand Chaplain. The main speaker will be Stuart Brooker, Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. Proceedings will be chaired by the County Donegal Grand Master, David Mahon.

The Twelfth in Donegal has been held in Rossnowlagh since the 1900s and has taken place there every year since 1978. It is traditional to hold the parade on the Saturday before the main Twelfth parades, meaning lodges in the Irish Republic can attend the Twelfth demonstrations in Northern Ireland.

A new bannerette of Revival in Ireland Memorial LOL 1859 will also be on display during the Rossnowlagh parade for the first time.

There are over 40 Orange e halls in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has members in nine counties in the Republic.

Over 3,000 Orangemen representing upwards of 60 lodges will take part in the Twelfth in Coleraine.

The host district Macosquin will bring the parade to the town for the second time in three years and a huge crowd is expected to enjoy the festivities.

Holidaymakers on the north coast are expected to swell the numbers as they turn out to savour the atmosphere of a Twelfth parade.

As is traditional, members of Macosquin District will be joined by brethren from Coleraine, Londonderry city, Limavady, as well as County Donegal.

Over 50 bands will add to the carnival atmosphere.

On parade will be a new bannerette honouring Orangemen from Co Londonderry who were murdered during the Troubles. Dungiven LOL 2036 will also be carrying their new banner.

Ballarena Faith Defenders LOL 984 and Ballarena Accordion Band are both celebrating their 70 th anniversary this year.

The Twelfth parade also takes place following the opening of a new Orange heritage centre in nearby Limavady, documenting the history - and showcasing artefacts - of the Institution in the locality.

The main procession will move off at 12 noon from Union Street and proceed through the town via Railway Road, Kingsgate Street, Long Commons, Beresford

Road, Blindgate Street, Dunmore Street, New Row, Church Street, The Cenotaph,

The Diamond, Queen’s Street, Circular Road, Old Bridge, Waterside, Castlerock Road, Kings Road and Carthall Road to the field.

At the field, the religious service will commence at 2.30pm. The address will be

delivered by Rev John Noble, a Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. The main speaker will be Samuel Calvin, Deputy County Grand Master of County Londonderry.